Michael Cohen pleads guilty to misleading Congress

Friday, 30 Nov, 2018

Cohen said in court that in 2017, he submitted a written statement to Congress saying all efforts relating to the real estate project in Moscow had ceased by January 2016.

ABC reports that Cohen appeared in federal court in Manhattan Thursday and "entered a guilty plea for misstatements to Congress in closed-door testimony past year about his contacts with Russians during the presidential campaign".

Michael Cohen walks out of federal court on Thursday in NY.

"Michael Cohen is lying and he's trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me", he said. He added that Cohen "is not a very smart person".

"In fact, I took steps to and had discussions with Individual 1 about travel to Russian Federation", he said, referring to Trump.

The guilty plea is based on a charge brought by Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference into the 2016 election and whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Vladimir Putin's regime.

When asked about a pardon for Manafort, Mr Trump told the newspaper: "It was never discussed, but I wouldn't take it off the table".

"In truth and in fact, and as Cohen well knew, Cohen's representations about the Moscow Project he made to (House and Senate intelligence committees) were false and misleading", Mueller's office said in a court filing.

Cohen told the judge he lied about the timing of the negotiations, his communications with people in the company and in Russian Federation about the deal, and other details to be loyal to Trump and consistent with Trump's "political messaging".

This marks the first time Mueller's team charged Cohen as part of their investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion.

After previously implicating the president in a conspiracy to shirk campaign finance laws to pay off a Playmate and a porn star, the latest lies Cohen plead guilty to are about Trump's true loves: real estate and Putin.

One day after this call, Moscow-born businessman Felix Sater, referred to as "Individual 2" in court papers asked Cohen to talk, writing "It's about [the President of Russia] they called today".

Prosecutors said Cohen had tried to give a false impression that the Moscow project ended before the Republican presidential campaign properly began in 2016 with the Iowa caucus. If Cohen lied to Congress about the timeline, that conclusion is now potentially compromised as well.

Trump has sought to distance himself from Cohen despite their long association. He's slated to be sentenced in two weeks on other charges.

It's unclear if Trump provided answers on that specific topic. He said sentencing in the case is scheduled for December 12.

"You know this flipping stuff is bad", Trump, who has repeatedly called for Mueller's "witch hunt" led by "angry Democrats" to come to an end, told the Post.